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William E. Parker

William E. Parker

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December 29, 2014
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December 29, 2014
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September 07, 2009
Bill Parker was a large presence, an oracle behind the podium and a learned and generous friend.

Nearly thirty years ago, I was broke living in Tucson, working in a sandwhich shop, feeling like I was strking out. An order came in for a delivery and I was asked to bring the food to a local gallery. It was Billie who heard about my situation and called so that I would come over for one of our marathon conversations. I took the afternoon off and once again felt connected to a great community.
September 03, 2009
Knowing Bill Parker was a humbling experience. His intellectual capacity far exceeded the Joe Shmoe I would typically encounter and, of course, my own. I attempted to keep attention focused on Bill in order to conceal my own inadequacies but he caught on to this and managed to resurrect and draw from me a reservoir of ideas I didn't know I had. Bill could teach without being condescending or patronizing. In fact, he could (and would)attribute and infuse the simplest of statements with such extraordinary meaning that the speaker at once became brilliant beyond belief. Bill always recognized that everyone has value and something to contribute.
I met Bill Parker via Cherie Hiser and Alex Sweetman who knew of my book project on female to male transsexuals and thought Bill might have an interest in helping in it's creation.
We met in Boston over lunch to discuss the project and shortly thereafter, he volunteered to act as consulting editor pro bono. The attached photo was taken by Mariette Pathy Allen at the book party Diane Ellaborn and I hosted. A good bit of Bill's enthusiasm about the book and offer to help stemmed from the fact that it would be authored by a transsexual, one of the tribe, and not an outside voice. More then anything, Bill believed in authenticity. He believed that people need to understand and accept themselves on their own terms and unabashedly, proudly present their best selves to the world. He courageously lived his own beliefs; confident in his convictions, he passionately stood ground and as a true humanitarian, often gave voice to those unable or less inclined to defend themselves. We'd often banter back and forth about the injustices in the world until our voices were shrill and throats raw.
My father died some years ago from ALS.
As a mentor and friend, Bill Parker became a father figure for me and one of the few men I was privileged to know and love in my lifetime. My heart will ache from his absence but he has left me stronger and wiser with his influence. Rest in Peace & Comfort.
Tim, you know I love you too and will always be available. Nevil, please be in touch.
August 31, 2009
“Dear ones”- that’s how he always addressed us in his precious letters and each time we were again enveloped in his warm embrace. When you were hugged by Bill Parker, you knew you were being HUGGED. He never held back.

We first met some thirty years ago when Bonnie and I became “captives” of two of his Visual Studies summer seminars. Captives to the forces of his intellect and his personality. Captives to his intense necessity to share the workings of his wonderful mind. At the end of some very long days on some very hard chairs, our brains were so stimulated that they throbbed in pain. He was the world’s greatest story teller and his riffs on growing up in Neptune Beach, Florida always came at the time of the day when we couldn’t possible absorb one more word about androgynes, prolepsis in Renaissance painting or the Cartesian split,.

Of course, we remember best the times when he paid attention to our own budding artwork. In the kindest possible way, he made so many unexpected and astute connections to history, psychology, literature, optics, visual communications and pop culture that, many years later they still inform out thoughts and practice. He made us feel brilliant beyond all reason and gave us the confidence to go on with our life’s work.

The wonderful added bonus of the workshop was meeting Tim and Nevil, who also hung on his every word, beaming encouragement, even though they must have heard many of the stories time and again.

Bill, Tim and Nevil – you will be our “dear ones” forever.
August 31, 2009
My first personal one-on-one Bill Parker experience in the mid-seventies was, quite simply and emphatically, the high point of my life in art. Held captive in the back seat of our car all the way from Niagara Falls to Visual Studies Workshop, Bill allowed me to show him piles of trial and error artwork and research in progress. He responded with such overwhelming comprehension and he suggested readings tailored to my unlikely project with such exquisite precision that it would take me six more lifetimes to absorb it all.

The week before, I had driven my husband, John, to Bill’s ‘Mimesis’ workshop, planning to drop him off and drive back home. While I lingered at the classroom door, Bill, - almost hidden from view behind a quivering tower of books and slide trays - introduced the course with such astounding energy - his topics and insights multiplying and interconnecting with such stunning kaleidoscopic speed and irresistible intensity - that I signed up on the spot, sat down and did not budge all week.

Never, ever, will I forget Bill’s story of his visionary yoga experience– delivered with such powerful dramatic force that it left a number of students trembling. Into this extreme shocker Bill wove the most tenderly loving praise for Tim’s steady, enduring love and Nevil’s beauty and gift for poetry.

Throughout the eighties and nineties we loved to visit Tim and Bill and Nevil in New England, their home at once a cozy welcoming nest and a fascinating small museum and library - every shelf and corner of it cleaner than the dishes in our own house.

Neither of us have ever seen a ghost but we will keep our minds open and always hope for visits from Bill.
August 30, 2009
Bill was absolutely unique. A friend for almost half a century, it will be hard to accept his physical absence. But, his laugh, his words, his wildly singular being, in both professional and personal relations, will never be out of sight or sound. To say I will miss him is the most ineffective way to express my feelings. How a human being could extemporaneously make the leaps of penetrating analogies Bill did, is truly beyond explanation. An hour lecture, begun late, would have to end late and then later. There was never enough time for him to get the thoughts completed - before or after the in-person public or private event. Frustration was, unfortunately, often present. But the audience never left without endless new connections and questions. His obsessiveness brought all of us (and himself) emotions we cannot express. How he could contain all of his verbal and visual worlds will forever be a mystery. Speak on, Bill, speak on.
August 26, 2009
A true loss in this world, an inspired, gifted, extraordinary individual. Bill had the most profound impact on my graduate career. I was lucky to have him as my thesis advisor and to assist one of his classes at RISD. This man was a real gem and will be missed!
August 26, 2009
There is no one else like Bill Parker. I knew and loved him for forty years. Marilyn and I would often have dinner with Tim Ann and Bill at their house, at ours and at restaurants. Before they left for Florida, we started The Movie Bunch, a group that would see a film and then retire to a restaurant to discuss it. Bill always brought a complete course outline and supportive material for every one present on every possible aspect of the film. It was so characteristic of him to be more than thoroughly prepared.

Bill could talk and talk, and the conversation would often reach a fever pitch, especially when the subject had to do with fakes, villains, rednecks, right-wingers, bad art and bad writing. In Eastford, dinners would include many visits to his extensive library, and books would be spread on the table to illustrate and enlarge the discussion. These were heavy books! As the conversation progressed, his face would turn a deeper shade of red and the crescendo of his voice would rise until, finally, having satisfied himself in making his points, a smile and a calmness would emerge and then a gentle southern offer for more coffee and a cookie would be proffered. The evening would pass and much of the wrongdoings of the world would be exorcised - at least for the moment.

The passing of this charming, brilliant, witty, giving, supportive human being is a terrible loss. Family is the foundation and friends are the fences of our lives. Together they give us comfort, security and a sense of balance as we deal with all the challenges that life, the body and the mind, demand.

With Bill gone, there is a hole in my fence that is not reparable.

Goodbye Amigo
August 26, 2009
Bill was a dear, dear friend. He was charismatic, brilliant, creative, strong- minded, ebullient and sweet to his friends, His southern charm was a delight and made you feel special and important. Before Bill and Tim left for Florida, Walter and I spent many wonderful times with them - talking art, talking politics, talking movies, talking (and eating) food. We will always miss him, but on an important level - he is still with us.
August 25, 2009
I'll miss Bill's laugh, his quick wit and deep passion. His mind was always at work, and most of us were just smart enough to know he was thinking circles around us. I'll remember him as a gentleman with a sense of humor endowed with just the right amount of mischievousness. He enriched us and will be missed.

Mark Klett
August 25, 2009
Though deeply saddened by the death of Bill, I can't help but smile as I recall his larger than life expressions of joy and laughter. Probably the smartest man I ever met (a NY critic once descibed Bill to me as "the Man who knew too much," Bill spoke about photography, especially his own, with a vocabulary well beyond my two college degrees. I knew I loved his painted photographic portraits, and showed them without knowing their hidden meanings, but when Bill talked about the Green Man, my head started spinning.

He will be deeply missed.
Larry Miller

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